Social responsibility

Social responsibility

Active corporate citizenship programmes relevant to the needs of the communities where we operate ensure that we promote socio-economic development within these communities.

We actively engage with and are part of the communities where we are located. Helping to address the needs and concerns of these communities enhances our licence to operate, entrenches our reputation and is in line with our goal of being a responsible corporate citizen.

The key themes of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives include community welfareeducation and environmental conservation, with particular reference to ‘greening’ and tree planting projects (WeForest).

The bulk of our spend is allocated to the Southern African region, where the developmental needs are greater than in the other regions where we operate. For Sappi, ‘sustainable’ CSR projects are those which enable communities to progress further than they would have on their own – in other words, projects which allow people to leverage their energies and talents to sustain themselves, creating meaningful change.

Our funding objective in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is to effect meaningful change by providing equitable access to resources and opportunities in response to identified needs in areas where we operate. We adopt a participatory approach, identifying the needs of individual communities, consulting extensively with the community, its leaders and with local government and then tailoring appropriate programmes to meet the specific needs of the people and the environment. In this way, projects become more sustainable and self-sufficient.

Our community partnership approach has led to a number of innovative initiatives:

In Europe, while each mill takes a different approach, responding to the needs of communities is a priority for all mills. The employee tree-planting initiative at our Brussels office is just one example. Click here for further information.

In North America, in line with our focus on environmental stewardship, we support Living Lands and Waters, an organisation which helps to clean up rivers and waterways. Watch here to see what it’s all about.

In South Africa, we have established the Abashintshi (the ‘changers’ in Zulu) training programme. The aim of the programme is twofold: to reduce fires and uplift communities. This involved training two young people from each of the nine communities selected in our pilot programme. Key to the programme is the engagement with youth, as we had previously engaged primarily with traditional leaders and councillors. The research component of this project won a Gold Quill award in the International Association of Business Communicators. Click here to learn more.

The School Governing Body and the staff have a pleasure to convey the words of appreciation to Sappi Resources Centre for demonstrating its giant leap in conducting extra classes in Mathematics and Physical Sciences to our grades 11 and 12 learners… Since our school was involved in this project, there has been a drastic improvement in our learners’ performance.
The principal, Banguni Secondary School, Stanger, KwaZulu Natal, 04 February 2014

We hold ourselves accountable to global sustainability best practice standards by transparently measuring, monitoring and communicating our economic, social and environmental performance.

Our ability to deliver value creation for our shareholders by focusing on improved profitability, strategic positioning and debt reduction lies at the heart of our commitment to sustainability.

Recognising that we live in a world where natural resources are under increasing pressure, we aim to lighten our environmental footprint.